I don't like carrying regrets or if-onlys around with me. They cause too much introspection. They steal too much from today. But the lessons learned, those are invaluable. People say live and learn, I think it's healthy to make note of the lessons we've learned so we don't forget to live by them.
Revisiting my high-school-self I would tell her all that loneliness was forming so much strength. I would affirm the wacky uniqueness she possessed but felt so uncomfortable in, so sure that it was something to shed before she could become an adult, before she could find her "soul connection". I'd let my first-and-only-relationship-self relish every midday walk and coffee date. I would congratulate her for her grounded-ness and the good chunk of money they saved up together. I would tell my first-time-mommy-self she is doing great, even when she feels like she's lost in a stormy sea of crying and emotional turbulence. I would let her know that yes, old things have passed away- days of doing what she wants when she wants. But a new thing has come- new contentment of simply loving and being loved in a way only a mother and child can.
If I could turn back time mostly I would tell myself to let go and live. All my eyeing the progressions and possessions of another's life only returned resentment and fear. Worry is such a wicked curse, whispering that what we know now is reality forever. But when we live by our lessons, the truth is undeniable—this too shall pass.
In three years I'll look back on my two-kids-self and command a slowing down of time. The nights at home rocking babies to sleep will seem so sweet, park play dates precious and pure. Maybe I'll even miss the spitting up and blow-out diapers. But most likely not.
My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God. (Eph. 3:14-19 MSG)